WARREN - The Royal Oak Chapter of the Chinese Cultural Exchange Program joined the Warren Consolidated School District’s School Board at their March 19 meeting.
“We are all very aware that the global economy is a reality today,” said Executive Director of Secondary Education Todd Biederwolf. “We have to ensure our students that they will be competitive in business.”
Biederwolf and the Chinese Cultural Exchange Program members asked board members to support their initiative to begin a program that would eventually lead to high school students from China graduating from Warren Consolidated High Schools. Warren Consolidated Students would also have the opportunity to graduate from Chinese high schools.
Biederwolf and his supporters, including Principal of Sterling Heights High School Bob Scheonerr, believe programs such as these will allow American students to be competitive in business, understand the global economy, and learn Mandarin Chinese.
“Teaching our students Chinese is incredibly important to be well versed in today’s culture,” said Principal Scheonerr. “We hope that next year we can bring Shanghai students to Michigan. They will live in a boarding style home with adult supervision and graduate from Sterling with an American diploma.”
Eastern Michigan University and the International Higher Education Exchange Center have teamed up with Sterling Heights High School to aid in developing the program so all Warren Consolidated students can partake in the cultural exchange.
The board members were also asked to support changes in testing policies in the district in order to be compliant with policy 545 of the Michigan Merit Curriculum.
“I think it is important we talk about a waiver here,” said Biederwolf. “It’s not that we don’t care about health in education, but a student should be allowed to get that half credit in an area of interest.”
The board supported the change in the testing policy. Students will no longer be required to fulfill their half credit in health class in order to graduate. Now students may take another unrestricted elective, such as art, and will be eligible to graduate.
“Students may also be exempted from gym class with two seasons on the same J.V. or Varsity sport, two years of marching band, or one year of passing grade in WCS performing arts classes,” said Biederwolf. “The question is should we continue to do this?”
The board voted to allow students to continue to be exempt from gym class if they fulfill the requirement another way.
Students may also test out of classes so long as they receive a C-plus or higher. This raised concern with some board members.
“My own concern is a C-plus,” said Vice President Brendan Wagner. “I think we need to raise the bar. For testing, this is too low and most can do that with little effort.”
According to Biederwolf, the board cannot mandate students must receive a higher test score while testing out of classes because a C-plus is acceptable in Michigan law.
The Board also announced that Carter, Grissom and Carleton Middle Schools made it to the state band competition.